15 Ağustos 2017 Salı

Turkey-South Africa Relations: Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy


Even though Turkey has a strong historical relationship with the Republic of South Africa dating back to the 19th century, its historical and political relations with the Republic of South Africa remained very limited since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. When the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power in October 2002, the traditional dynamics of Turkish foreign policy changed significantly. The ruling party explored new political, economic and social instruments so as to increase its relations with South Africa. The AK Party has combined elements of constructivist and realist approaches in its foreign policy activism, focusing on restoring the damaged historical relations with African countries and strengthening economic and trade relations with them. This article argues that there is a mixture of motivations behind increasing the bilateral relations between the two states. Also, this research will focus on how geopolitical, geoeconomic and historical factors play an important role in the development of relations between the two countries.

Keywords: Ottoman State, Turkey, South Africa, Turkish foreign policy, history, politics, economics, geopolitics.

How to cite the article:

Sıradağ, A. (2017). Turkey-South Africa Relations: Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy. Eurasian Studies Journal (Avrasya Etudleri), Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 7-28.

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4 Temmuz 2017 Salı



This article will examine the driving dynamics behind the increasing relations between Turkey and Somalia. Turkey has been an important actor on the African politics since the AK Party (Justice and Development Party) came to power in 2002. For instance, while Turkey only had 12 embassies across the continent until 2005, it currently has 35. Turkey is today among the countries in the world having one of the most diplomatic missions on the African continent. Turkey’s economic relations with the continent have also changed significantly. Whereas Turkey’s total trade with Africa was 2 billion dollars in 2005, it is presently about 22 billion dollars. Importantly, Turkey is aiming to increase her total trade with Africa up to 50 billion dollars until 2020. Furthermore, Turkish NGOs are actively involved in many humanitarian projects in the different African countries. Turkey has particularly paid a great deal of attention to increasing political, economic and social relations with Somalia during the AK Party government. This article argues that the AK Party has been establishing a new foreign policy identity and transforming the parameters of the traditional Turkish foreign policy through the social interactions with Somalia.


AK Party, Turkey, Somalia, Africa, Foreign Policy, Politics, Economics, History.

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30 Ocak 2017 Pazartesi

Erdogan’s visit in East Africa: New Strategies and New Threats

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has started his offical visits in East Africa including Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagaskar scheduled on 22-26 January 2017. Erdogan has become the first president visiting Mozambique and Madagaskar at the presidential level since Turkey was established in 1923. Erdogan is making his African visit with a large delegation from Turkish politicians and Turkish business circles. Erdogan’s visit in East Africa is giving a strong message to the Western world that Turkey has actively continued to be an active player on the international stage and taking its foreign policy decisions independently despite new security challenges and the new political developments in Turkey. What does Erdogan’s current visit in East Africa mean for Turkey?

There are political, economic, historical and security dynamics behind the Erdogan’s current visit in East Africa. The first dynamics is that Turkey has developed a new foreign policy strategy since the ruling AK Party government came to power in Turkey in November 2002. According to the new Turkish foreign policy, Turkey ought to diversify its foreign relations, play active role in world politics, open new economic spaces for the Turkish business circles and reduce its dependency on the West. In this regard, Africa has been one of the most important strategic areas for Turkish foreign policy after 2002. For instance, Turkey has increased the number of its embassies across the continent from 12 to 39. Turkey has also aimed to increase the current number of its embassy across the African continent in the following years. Turkey had a western-oriented foreign policy during the Cold war era, which limited its foreign policy power around the world. However, Turkey has actively begun to develop new strategic relations with different regions and different continents during the period of the AK Party administration. Erdogan’s visit in East Africa implies that Turkey has institutionalized the policy of diversification of its foreign policy and has determined its foreign policy decisions independently derived from its national interests.

The second dynamics is that Turkey has targeted to deepen its economic relations with the African states since 2002. A crowded business circle has always been accompanying the Erdogan’s visits in Africa including the current one. This is meaning that Erdogan wants to find new economic markets and opportunities for the Turkish businessmen. Developing economic relations has been a strategic purpose for the new Turkish foreign policy. Turkey has been a rising economic power since 2002, became the 16th largest economic power as well as the 6th largest economic power in Europe. Turkey’s total economic trade with the African states has been increasing since 2002, jumped from 2 billion to 18 billion. However, Turkey’s total trade with Africa has begun to reduce since 2011 due to the world economic crisis of 2007 and the impact of the Arab Spring. Erdogan with his recent visit over the states in East Africa has purposed to revitalize Turkish economy which began to slow down since 2011.

Another important point behind the Erdogan’s visit is that Turkey has intended to create a new security policy by making new deals with the African states in the fields of defense and security. In this regard, Turkey has made new deals with many African countries in the fields of defense and security since 2005. Turkey also signed a defense and security deal with Tanzania during the Erdogan’s recent visit. Importantly, Turkey has been recently taking a critical steps in decreasing its dependency on the West in the areas of defense and security. While Turkey imported 90 percent of its weapons from the West, in particular from the U.S., this rate is now down to 40 percent. Turkey’s target for 2023 is fully t produce the weapons Turkey uses and to be among the most important states in the fields of defense and security. Turkey has recently taken strategic steps in increasing its defense and security capacity in world politics. For example, it has established a military base in Somalia in 2016 which is a strategic importance for the world powers. These developments are potentially making an important contribution to increasing to Turkey’s strategic power in world politics.

Historical dimension is also critical for understanding Erdogan’s recent visit in East Africa. In particular, developing relations with the countries in East Africa is important for Turkey due to Turkey’s historical relations over the region. The Ottoman state had a deep religious, political and security relations with the region in East Africa, which played a critical role in preventing the expansionist policy of Portugal in East Africa in the 16th century and provided a significant political, economic and political support to the Muslim Sultanates in this region. In this regard, Erdogan and the ruling party has been paying a significant attention to increasing bilateral relations with the states in East Africa due to its historical relations in the region. According to the new Turkish foreign policy parameters, Turkey needs to maintain its relations with the places where the Ottoman state had a strong relationship. Furthermore, Turkey ought to play a more active role in African politics due to the fact that Turkey is located in a dynamic geographical place in world politics. While Turkey only had one identity in its foreign policy during the Cold War era, “Euro-Afroasian identity” became a new foreign policy identity of the new Turkey, which forces it to become a more active and dynamic player on the international stage. The last dynamics is that Turkey has been living extraordinary political and security developments since the 15th of July in 2016. Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) attempted to topple the democratically elected government in Turkey through the military coup in July 2016. FETO has a deep political, economic and social relations over the African states through its schools, its business circles and its civil society organizations. Erdogan with this visit is also aiming to reduce its power over the states in East Africa.

As a conclusion, even though Turkey has been recently facing new security threats and challenges, Turkey has endured and played active role in world politics. Since 2002, Turkey has been actively maintaining its political, economic and security relations with Africa. “Continuity” has been an important component of the new Turkish foreign policy during the AK Party administration. Turkey’s relations with Africa is strongly demonstrating that Turkey has diversified its foreign policy orientation and taking its foreign policy decisions according to its national interests.   

19 Ocak 2017 Perşembe

Explaining the Conflict in Central African Republic: Causes and Dynamics


Since the Central African Republic (CAR) gained independence from France in 1960 it has faced deep social, economic and political crises. The country has witnessed 10 military coup attempts between 2005 and 2015, which have aggravated political and economic development of the CAR. The most recent by leader of the Seleka coalition group, Michel Djotodia, against the government of Bozize in March 2013 that saw hundreds of thousands displaced and thousands killed. Although the violence in the CAR partially polarized Muslims and Christians, we argue in this paper that the driver of the conflict in the CAR is more a struggle for power among political elite. The aim is to explain the main motivations behind the political crisis and the changing dynamics of the violent conflict in the CAR.


Central African Republic; Africa; France; Seleka; Anti-balaka; Religion; Security; Conflict.


Sıradağ, A. ( 2016 December). Explaining the Conflict in the Central African Republic: Causes and Dynamics. Epiphany: Journal of Transdisciplinary Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 86-103.



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